Monday, April 8, 2013

Quick Rant: Glee Season 4

OK, this may not be that 'quick'.

I said in my Friday Night Lights post from Friday that there would be another post about the show, and I was technically telling the truth.

The whole truth, however, is that I have been searching/hoping for a chance to write something about another show that I enjoy - and while watching FNL it dawned on me how I could explain my point.

If you are a follower of my blog (and I believe it may just be my wife) you know that a little while back I decided to jump into watching a show I hated for no reason in Glee - see my review here.

Anyway, as I stated in that review Glee garnered a lot of hate from me for no true reason - and after my wife and son became fans of the show, I thought I should give it a try.

Well, I caught up on the first three seasons in order to be ready for the brand new fourth season that started in the fall.

First, I loved the first three seasons. Although I am not a huge fan of all of the characters, together everything worked and the musical numbers have been wonderful - some are way better than others though.

But, this isn't a review of Glee. I had already stated in my first review (even if it was just for the first season) that I enjoyed it. No, this is a post about what Glee did wrong - and, honestly, the problem occurred from day one.

When Glee began in 2009 the school had signups for the glee club and only had five signup. After the first few episodes they were able to get up to the 12 that they needed - and in those 12 all of them were sophomores and freshmen. Makes sense, right?

At the time, yes. But, as the seasons went on the sophomores became juniors, and then seniors. Those freshmen, well they are now seniors. In those three years - the 12 students never really changed, so no other characters (read younger students) were introduced in those three seasons.

Which brings us to season four and my issues.

In season four the glee club, after losing eight members to graduation, finally had to introduce some new characters - and I am fine with that. The main issue - going to New York.

This show is called Glee, not NYADA.

It's supposed to be about a high school glee club. In fact, when the show was pitched it was about a teacher (Will Schuester), but as the seasons went on Rachel became the star of the show and the powers that be felt it best to follow her to NY.

During season four, the my least favorite parts of the show have been the NY portions. Rachel is no longer the high-strung annoying girl from high school - no she is much worse now.

Which leads me to my comparison to Friday Night Lights - a show that seemed to have it together from the start. Like all high schools, kids grow up and eventually graduate - you need to have a plan in place so that when a loved character leaves, another one is right behind them.

From the start we are introduced to characters in all four grade levels - the quarterback Jason Street is a senior. The running back 'Smash' Williams is a junior. The cheerleader Lyla Garrity, the backup quarterback Matt Saracen, the fullback Tim Riggins and Tyra Collette are all sophomores, with the coach's daughter, Julie Taylor and Saracen's best friend, Landry Clarke each freshmen.

Sounds smart doesn't it? Already we are given a year of Street, two of Williams, three of the sophomores and a fourth season with the freshmen. But, because Julie is part of the Taylor family, we actually get her for all five.

But, that isn't it. As the seasons went on more characters are introduced - so for season four when we only had Julie and Landry left - we already had a bunch of new characters we knew. By season five - the entire football team was gone, and even though some of them were missed, the show moved forward and it was still enjoyable.

Don't get me wrong - keep lovable characters around, but find a reason for them to stick around. Whether it was Riggins dropping out of college and coming back to help Coach Taylor out and his brother, or Saracen sticking around to take care of his sick grandmother and be with his girlfriend, Julie.

This was actually used brilliantly in Glee with Finn's character. He washed out in the Army and eventually made his way back home - and took over the glee club when Schuester was gone. Perfect - keep a former character around longer with an actual reason to stick around.

Other characters have been back as well from the original cast, but in small doses - which is perfectly fine. Coming back to support the glee club, coming home for holiday - it can all be done.

Going to NY, though, not needed. Sometimes, its best to just say goodbye.

My complaint, however, will go on deaf ears - the comment posters out there continue to say they'd rather the show just be in NY and forget about the high school (which again would be fine in a spinoff called NYADA). But, this is about the high school and the glee club. I am still getting to know most of the new characters - but it would have been nice to have been introduced to a few of them as the seasons progressed.

And since NY is going to be sticking around, when is this Rachel Berry coming back? Because she is missed.

Also, off topic, where the heck do Sugar, Joe and sometimes Unique go? This is a school, right? But they tend to be missing a lot (I know reading too much into it, but it is annoying). Finally, I miss Rory!


  1. Good explanation - it's hard to stay with the show, but honestly they made it okay to let go of our main characters.

  2. I (like a lot of people) was sniffy about Glee but gave it a go and enjoyed the first two seasons. I got really bored though by the third as it felt stagnant and like each episode was simply the 'bullying episode' or 'the poor people episode' rather than being a gradual building of plot.

    I think a problem with all High School shows is that because of their nature they have a defined shelf life. You can't blame the makers for trying to extend this but I lost interest when they went to NYC.